Mar 29, 2017 09:02 AM EDT
Technology has been a game changer for teachers and schools with few resources. It plays a larger role in the classroom as teachers are now able to access new software platforms that can help them customize lesson plans, manage assignments and complete evaluations.
Learning management systems are already a %5.2 billion industry. According to a Markets and Markets study it is projected to grow to $16 billion in four years. Aside from schools, digital learning is also being used by corporate organizations and academic institutes.
One of the leading companies in digital learning is D2L. Its Brightspace software platform help teachers manage their teaching, messaging and grading. It's used by more than 700 clients, 8 million students, which include about half of K-12 and higher-education institutions in Canada.
Another is Blackboard, which sells its teaching and analytics software platform to more than 16,000 clients. It includes schools, governments and businesses, reaching 100 million users worldwide. Blackboard helps teachers bring their classrooms online and provides students with customized programs.
Tom Vander Ark, an investor in education technology and founding partner at Learn Capital and Getting Smart said that this is just the beginning. It took time to develop new learning models but in a couple of years most schools will become part of a platform network..
Tech giants Google, Microsoft and Apple have each offered free classroom tools for students and teachers. Vander Ark said that Google and Microsoft have a very lightweight management system that most teachers around the world have adopted and used in class. The platforms are free and enable teachers to meet the needs of individual students.
Facebook is now getting into the education business by helping Summit Public Schools develop a platform. Soon several hundred public schools around the country will h/ave access. Vander Ark said it would transform the K-12 education.
The only downside of the surge in interest in ed-tech from these giants is that it has put a damper on venture investment. It peaked in 2015 at more than $1.5 billion and declining to $930 million last year according to CNBC.
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